Worcester and Norwich - History

Worcester and Norwich - History

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Al Southwick: Independence Day and Worcester's place in history

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, about the momentous vote for Independence that the Continental Congress had taken the day before.

&ldquoThe second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You may think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these States. Yet through the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction. &rdquo

Although Adams listed July 2 as the crucial date, historians have determined that the Congress actually ratified the document two days later, on July 4. But his eloquent letter certainly sums up the meaning and import of Independence Day about as well as anything written since.

Americans were quick to understand that Independence Day was a very big deal indeed. On July 18, 1777, the Virginia Gazette published an account of of the festivities in Philadelphia &ndash &ldquowith demonstration of joy and festivity&rdquo including the firing of cannons and the ringing of church bells &ndash that may have been the first celebration of the Declaration on record.

Worcester was not far behind. This community had a keen interest in the Declaration. The first public reading of the famed document in the state was right here in Worcester a week or so after July 4, 1776, when Isaiah Thomas, Worcester postmaster, opened a package addressed to Boston and discovered a copy of the Declaration. He then read it to a gathering assembled in front of the First Church on the Common, about where City Hall stands now.

Thomas was an ardent patriot and tireless promoter of Independence for the colonies. He probably was one of the organizers of Worcester&rsquos first celebration of the Fourth, on July 8, 1779. The Massachusetts Spy, owned and edited by Thomas, gave a full account of the occasion:

&ldquoThe morning of that day was ushered in by the ringing of bells, the firing of a cannon, and a display of the Continental flag. At 12 o&rsquoclock, 13 cannons were fired. In the evening the Courthouse was illuminated, 13 rockets were fired and a display of other fireworks, greatly to the satisfaction of many respectable and staunch friends to the common cause of our nation, who were assembled at the Courthouse from this and adjacent towns. Mutual congratulations were given and a number of toasts suitable to the occasion were drunk.&rdquo

It&rsquos worth noting that that celebration of American freedom took place while the war was still raging. British forces had been driven out of Boston, but the British held New York and fighting was taking place in Georgia and South Carolina. The Lord Cornwallis&rsquo surrender at Yorktown was more than two years in the future. A celebration of American independence in 1779 was a remarkable demonstration of confidence, not to say chutzpah.

The Spy was exultant: &ldquoIt is with pleasure we can inform our readers that the spirit of patriotism is now reviving. Nothing is now wanted to compleat the political salvation of this Country.&rdquo

In later years, after the establishment of the federal government, Fourth of July celebrations became partisan. There were Federalist celebrations and Republican (Democratic) celebrations, each with its rituals making political hay at the expense of the rival group. Orators like Daniel Webster expounded mightily on national issues, often at length &ndash an hour or two sometimes.

The Fourth became a really national holiday after the Civil War, when the American people began to redefine the Union, so narrowly saved from division. The 1872 celebration here in Worcester showed the new spirit in all its fiery excesses. At midnight, reported the Telegram, &ldquothousands of children and older people were out to usher in the Fourth with all the noise they could make. The panic lasted but an hour and then the lid went on until daylight.

&ldquoMorning brought more excitement. At 8 a.m. the Battery B unit fired a 22-gun salute from atop Bell Hill. From then on the city rumbled with an almost constant barrage of firecrackers and torpedoes. The county towns were similarly enlivened with explosions, not all of them safe.&rdquo

Events here in Worcester included five bands, including the &ldquoStudelfunk Flunkies&rdquo and &ldquoThe Lowland Cadets.&rdquo The parade included &ldquoLt. Hardtack, Major Sassafras Bones, Surgeon and Capt. Slaymen.&rdquo We can only hope that they all were politically correct.

The city&rsquos festivities were coordinated by City Clerk Charles Benchley, father of comedian Robert Benchley and great grandfather of Peter Benchley, writer of &ldquoJaws.&rdquo Presumably a good time was had by all.

This column first appeared in the Telegram & Gazette on Jun 30, 2016.

Worcester and Norwich - History

The following collection (Click Here) of pictures represents only a small number of items of interest to historians and archivists. For an opportunity to study the entire collection first-hand, contact Linda Davis, of the Shrewsbury Historical Society.

In 1880 Matthew John Whittall built a mill in Worcester on Southbridge Street for the manufacture of fine carpets and rugs. The Whittall family lived at their city residence until building a great white Georgian summer estate in 1912. For this home Charles A. Kably, a realtor of Worcester, sold Mr. Whittall 100 acres of land on top of Meetinghouse Hill in Shrewsbury, which had consisted of seven separately-owned pieces of property.

Juniper Hall, as Mr. Whittall named his Shrewsbury estate, became a
landmark for many miles around. It held one of the finest views in Central
Massachusetts because of its location on the highest point in Shrewsbury.
Its overlook includes Lake Quinsigamond and extends beyond Worcester to the hills of Paxton and Rutland to the north can be seen Mt. Monadnock and Mt. Wachusett.

All the rooms in the two-story house were large, especially those on the
first floor. The reception hall had a ceiling extending to the second floor with a surrounding balcony. Also on the first level were a butler's pantry, music room, dining room, living room and breakfast room. There were four fireplaces, four bedrooms, and a large sitting room on the second floor. The sunporch, which looked out on formal gardens, covered nearly all of one side of the house.

Gardening was a particular hobby of Mr. and Mrs.Whittall. Juniper Hall
became one of the show places of Worcester County, with its layout of the formal gardens, swimming pool, and the "picking flower" gardens. The grounds were famous, and familiar to many people, because the public was welcomed to visit and see the flowers in bloom. Lilac week at Juniper Hall was one of the season's major events for those who were interested in flowers.

In the summer of 1922, Vice-president Calvin Coolidge visited Juniper Hall. In 1927, this white landmark framed in trees was deeded by Mrs. Whittall to the Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts. It was her wish that the house be used for the relief of suffering, in memory of her husband who had died there in 1922 and who had been a 33rd-degree Mason. The structure became known to many in Shrewsbury and the area as the Masonic Hospital. The estate was bought by the town of Shrewsbury in 1976 and the building was later razed.

The mansion is gone now and so are the memories of different times but the land remains and it is an enchanting world still. In place of formal gardens, there is wilderness with a hushed beauty of its own. Juniper Hall is now a memory, but the image of persists in its hollow on the summit.


Builders of the Shrewsbury Home of Matthew J. Whittall
Juniper Hall
Prospect Street

James and Orlando Norcross, started Norcross Brothers Construction Company, of Worcester, Massachusetts, and became one of the first general contractor companies in the nation. The number of buildings attributed to the Norcross Construction Company is extensive. The brothers worked extremely well between the construction of the building and the understanding of the architect's needs and designs. They earned their title of "Master Builder" because of their intelligence, ingenuity, personality and common sense. They also worked for some of the most influential architects of the time, namely Henry Hobson Richardson, Peabody and Stearns, McKim, Mead & White and Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge (successors to H. H. Richardson). The brothers filed many construction patents in their name (i.e. concrete columns, concrete slab flooring, partitions, etc.) most of these still in use in the construction world today.

The Norcross family originated from the state of Maine and moved to Salem, Massachusetts around 1843. Both James and Orlando were born in Maine - James Atkinson Norcross was born in Kennebec, Maine in 1831 and Orlando Whitney Norcross born in Clinton, Maine in 1839. Their parents were Jesse Springer Norcross and Margaret Whitney Norcross. Jesse Norcross, a carpenter who worked in all different aspects of the building trade, shifted his base of business from Maine to Salem, Massachusetts to establish a more lucrative location for his work.

James and Orlando soon established their own general contracting business in Swampscott. They later transferred their base of business in 1866 to Worcester, Massachusetts after being engaged to build the Worcester High School (which is no longer standing) and Leicester Congregational Church. The Norcross Brothers Construction Company remained in Worcester for the rest of its career. After successful completion of their first commissions in Worcester, the Norcross Brothers became linked in a nearly continuous and highly profitable association with the architect of the Worcester High School, Henry Hobson Richardson. H.H. Richardson became one of the most influential American architects of the late 19th century. After linking up with H. H. Richardson, the Norcross Brothers Construction Company proceeded to build almost all of Richardson's major commissions. Some of these building are:

The Trinity Church, Boston, MA
The Rhode Island State House
St. John's Episcopal Church, New York
New York Public Library
Just to name a few.

Refer to the Norcross binder to see the "Partial Listing" of buildings built by the Norcross Brothers Construction Company Courtesy of PRESERVATION WORCESTER, Cedar Street, Worcester, MA.
The Norcross Brothers Construction Company also worked on renovations to the White House, Washington, DC, and addition/renovation work of the Vanderbilt Home.

The Norcross Brothers built the own homes at the corners of Claremont and Woodland Streets (both of their homes currently house the facilities of Clark University's Center for Technology, Environment and Development). Except for a very few minor changes, mostly exterior, the two Norcross homes are mirror images of each other. Orlando's home was located at 16 Claremont Street and James' home was located at 18 Claremont Street.

James Norcross attended to all the office responsibilities and duties. He was a very conservative, detailed man, self-educated and a brilliant thinker. Orlando Norcross possessed a strong spirit, served during the Civil War and learned well the carpentry and building trade. The brothers also found it to their benefit to purchase and maintain their own quarries to produce the stone used for their buildings - sandstone, limestone and marble.

James retired from the business in 1897. James had also built the impressive residence "Fairlawn", on May Street, Worcester, which he occupied in July of 1895. Orlando continued the business alone.

With the deaths of these two incredible men, James died in 1903 and Orlando died on his way to work at the age of 80 in 1920, Norcross Brothers Construction Company was to suffer and eventually cease to exist.

Noted for their quality masonry, craftsmanship, honesty, integrity and organization, the Norcross brothers made extremely important contributions to the contracting business. They made huge advances in the architectural and commercial history of their era, both independently and through their association with the great architects of their day. The Norcross brothers continue to live on through the huge advances and innovations they developed and through the many structures that to this day still dot the United States.



These fabulous, creative and hugely successful builders built the home known as Juniper Hall for Mr. Matthew J. Whittall on Prospect Street, here in Shrewsbury. The brothers having working connections to Matthew Whittall were a probable first choice. (The brothers had worked on the Whittall Mills and built St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, in Worcester - Mr. Whittall being a charter member and generous financer of the church). Orlando Norcross was obviously approached by Mr. Whittall to construct his new home on its 70+ acre location in Shrewsbury.

The lovely and majestic home was built by Norcross Construction Company for a cost of EIGHTY THOUAND DOLLARS ($80,000.00) in 1912. It served as the home for Matthew and Gertrude Whittall for several years. On the fifth anniversary of Matthew Whittall's death, Gertrude deeded the property over the the Grand Lodge of the Masons of Massachusetts for use as a retirement/ convalesce home. The property later became known in the town as the Masonic Home/Hospital. In 1976 the property fell under the ownership of the Town of Shrewsbury and then in 1979 the town made the decision to demolish this home.


Thanks to:
Nancy Johnson - research paper
Clark University - website
Preservation Worcester-handouts
Worcester Historical Museum- Robin Christensen - Librarian
Paula Rowse Buonomo - author "History of St. Matthew's Church"


Matthew J. Whittall was a British immigrant who made his fortune in the carpet making business.

He was born in Kidderminster, England, on March 10, 1843. After his education, he relocated to a town called Stourport. There, at the age of 21, Matthew took charge of a carpet works company owned by Thomas B. Worth. Mr. Worth was a well known manufacturer of carpets. In this position, Matthew learned about the business and he remained with the company for about six years.

In October of 1868, Matthew married Ellen, youngest daughter of the late Henry Paget, in Stourport, England.

Mr. Whittall and his family came to the United States in 1871 and he took a position as a superintendent at the Compton Carpet Company, in Worcester. In 1879, the Compton Company was dissolved. Mr. Whittall was then determined to try his hand at manufacturing. He leased a building in South Worcester (then known as the Wicks Mill) and began to manufacture on his own. He visited is native home in England to purchase the necessary machinery for his plant. Matthew purchased machinery that would enable him to manufacture Wilton and Brussels carpets. In England, he purchased twelve looms. About three years later, with business booming, Mr.Whittall bought land and erected his first carpet mill. For about ten years after his first building, Matthew continued to expand adding new buildings on a periodic basis until his company covered nearly 200,000 square feet of land. He eventually, Edgeworth mill for the manufacturer of worsted yarns in 1885 and also purchased the Palmer Carpet Company in 1892. The mills in 1910 employed about 1500 skilled laborers and the mills were running about 350 carpet and rug looms. He was a caring employer and also held events such as minstrel shows and field days for employees. The Whittall Mills was one of the largest employers in South Worcester and remained in business until the late 1950's. It also became one of the largest individual carpet manufacturers in the world.

With his experience, practicality and knowledge in carpet making he took advantage of every new idea which could be utilized in the production of new and desirable goods. The quality of his carpets were in demand all over the country. He even received an inclusive order to supply the government buildings with carpets. President and Mrs. McKinley personally complimented Matthew for his choice in carpets for some of their rooms within the White House. The Whittall mills became one of the largest individual carpet manufacturers in the world.

His South Worcester mill buildings now house the business of Rotman's Furniture.

Mr. Whittall was a liberal-minded and community-oriented individual. He took a serious interest in his community. He was associated with many organizations: Board of Trade, Worcester Club, Tatassit Canoe Club, Blackstone Valley Street Railway Co., Manufactures' Mutual Insurance Company, People's Savings Bank, trustee of the Public Library and of City Hospital just to name a few. Even though he never held public office, he was also a member of the Governor's Council serving under Governor McCall in 1917/1918 and Governor Coolidge in 1919/1920.

At this time, Worcester was a growing city with 25 % of its population in 1855 foreign born. With many English immigrants, many from Mr. Whittall's home town of Kidderminster, working at the Whittall mills, their religion and traditions from the homeland were an important part of their lives. These English immigrants organized their own cricket and soccer teams and an English Social Club.

Their parish was called St. Matthew's Episcopal Church and here these people worshipped and socialized. In the spring of 1871, Mr. O. W. Norcross, of Norcross Brothers Construction Company, of Worcester, was contracted to build the chapel. This chapel was open for services on St. Matthew's Day, September 21, 1871. The parish was organized in 1874 with Matthew J. Whittall being a charter member. With the financial generosity and commitment of Matthew J. Whittall and his family, the church could rise from its humble beginnings. Construction of a new St. Matthew's began with the placing of the cornerstone on May 26, 1894. Norcross Brothers worked with architect, Stephen Earle, in the construction of this new building under the watchful eyes of the Building Committee - one member being Mr. Matthew J. Whittall. The church had a debt of almost $30,000.00 owed to Norcross Brothers which the Whittall family generously assumed. Mr.Whittall was elected as a Warden of the Church. He was also appointed to set up an endowment committee for the church. The members of St. Matthew's Parish continued to hold strong ties to their church back in Kidderminster, England, St. Mary's Church. This was the boyhood parish of Matthew Whittall's family and the parish of many of the others who followed their employer and friend to Worcester.

On the opposite corner from St. Matthew's Church (at the corner of Southbridge and Cambridge Streets), Matthew Whittall placed his Worcester home, Hillside. " The home has extensive grounds, laid out in excellent taste and forms one of the pleasantest and most attractive residences in the city." (The Worcester of 1898). It has been said that Mr. Whittall built his stately Worcester residence across from the church to keep a watchful eye on who turned up and who did not for Sunday service.

Mr. Whittall's first wife, Ellen, died in November of 1895 leaving a son and daughter. In 1906, Matthew married Gertrude Clarke, of Omaha, Nebraska. Following his second marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Whittall chose to build their home in Shrewsbury.

In 1912, Norcross Brothers Construction, was engaged by Mr. Whittall and Gertrude to build the grand white Georgian estate on the high hill, in the town of Shrewsbury. Several parcels of land were purchased to make up the approximate 100 acres for the estate.
The property was named Juniper Hall. The Whittall's loved to share the beautiful estate and gardens. They welcomed the public to come and visit to see the hundreds of flowers bloom. There were fields of wild irises, wisteria,
and gardens to pick flowers. They hosted events such as "Lilac Weekend" which was one of the season's major events. Whittall's Juniper Hall was known as one of Worcester County's show places with its reflecting pool and garden layouts.

Matthew Whittall was a 33rd degree Mason. When Matthew died in 1922, Gertrude Whittall dedicated the pergola in the gardens to him renaming it "The Garden of Sweet Remembrance." She continued to live on the property until, in 1927, she generously deeded Juniper Hall and all the real estate to the Grand Lodge of the Masons of Massachusetts for a retirement and convalescence home in memory of her husband.

Matthew J. Whittall died on October 31, 1922. The congregation of St. Matthew's Church was deeply grieved at the death of Mr. Whittall. He had served the church and contributed generously for almost fifty years.

Mr. Whittall, although dignified, was a approachable. He was a kind, generous and intelligent man who was known for his integrity, honesty and keen sense of humor. He was admired by friends, associates, employees and acquaintances.

Next time you drive west of Rt. 290 towards Auburn, look up just past the first Rotman's Furniture building and see his name engraved in stone on the next building and be reminded of one of Worcester's most prominent and successful individuals.

Thank you to:
Paula Rowse Buonomo
Whittall Masonic Lodge website
Worcester Historical Museum for contributing information

From a Scrapbook found in the Shrewsbury Historical Society collection


Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts will be given keys to the Estate by
Mrs. M. J. Whittall.

Notable Exercises to be at 3:30 P.M.

Juniper Hill (Hall), Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the magnificent $200,000 Whittall estate which was deeded October 29th in trust to the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons, by Mrs. Gertrude (Clarke) Whittall, widow of Matthew J. Whittall, in memory of her husband, to be used for the relief of worthy and indigent Freemasons, their widows and dependents residing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will be dedicated at a special communication of the Grand Lodge to be held on the premises at 3:30 P.M., Memorial Day, at which time the keys to the estate will be turned over to the Master and Wardens of the Grand Lodge.

It was specified in the deed of the Trust that should the Grand Lodge determine that if is not advisable to operate such property as a hospital or home as above so forth, "then said property shall be devoted to such charitable uses for the benefit of worthy and indigent Freemasons, the widows and dependents as my said Trustee (the Grand Lodge) shall select".

Mr. Whittall, a 33rd degree Mason, in whose memory the gift is made, was an internationally known carpet manufacturer, who for several years prior to his death in 1921, was a member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Lodge, and an earnest and devoted Mason. He was a member of Athelslan Lodge, A.F. and A.M., was instituted, was a charter member of that Lodge and became its first elected worshipful master in 1920 - 1921.

The property comprises between 85 and 100 acres of land, beautifully improved and is one of the most beautiful residential estates in the Commonwealth. Upon this property stand the large Georgian house which is a landmark for miles around. It commands one of the finest views in Central Massachusetts.

Situated on a lofty crest, the highest in the town of Shrewsbury, and over 700 feet above sea level, it looks down upon Lake Quinsigamond and beyond to the hills of Paxton and Rutland and to the northward to Mt. Monadnock and Mt. Wachusetts.

Juniper Hall has been one of the show places of Worcester County ever since it was built in 1912. The gardens are famous and are familiar to many thousands of people, for the public has always been welcome, especially at periods when floral displays were at the highest. Mrs. Whittall has developed the estate into a rare combination of formal gardens and the adaptation of cultivated plants to wild environment.

Mrs. Whittall is the daughter of Henry Taft Clarke, a pioneer Mason in Nebraska, and the first man to be raised to the degree of Master Masons in that state. He was one of the founders of the first lodge to be constituted in Nebraska, and throughout his life was one of the patrons of the institution in that Grand jurisdiction.

At the quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge, December 14th, Grand Frank L. Simpson stated in the offering of this gift: "It is my hope that the purpose of the donor may be realized and this property shall be devoted to use as a hospital to care for the afflicted brother Master Masons and their descendents for whom suitable accommodations cannot be found in existing institutions. I recommend that the gift of this property be accepted upon the trust set forth in the deed of convelance and that suitable resolutions be adapted expressing the gratitude and admiration of the fraternity for the liberality and loving kindness which prompted the gift." " I also recommend that a copy of these resolutions suitable grossed be forwarded to Mrs. Whittall, by authorities of the Grand Lodge in testimony of the appreciation of the brethren of Massachusetts of her generosity and benevolence.


Magnificent Country Home to be Used for "Relief of Suffering" an Any Way Massachusetts Jurisdiction of Fraternal Order Sees Fit - Presented as Memorial to Her Late Husband, Who Was 33d Degree Mason, on the Fifth Anniversary of His Death

Mrs. Matthew J. Whittall has deeded to the Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts her beautiful country estate, Juniper Hall, on the crest of Meeting House hill, in Shrewsbury. The gift is in memory of her husband, the late Matthew John Whittall, who was himself a 33d Mason. It is made on about the fifth anniversary of his death.

The property will be known as the Juniper Hall Memorial. Its purpose
will be "the relief of suffering."

The estate comprises about 100 acres of land, upon which stand the
great Georgian house, which is a landmark for many miles around. It
commands one of the finest views in Central Massachusetts. The lofty
crest, highest in the town of Shrewsbury, looks down upon Lake Quinsigamond and beyond to the hills of Paxton and Rutland, and to the northward to Mt. Monadnock and Mt. Wachusett and other distant eminences. While not far away from Shrewsbury village and the Boston Post road the distance is sufficient to give the place reposeful isolation.

May Be a Hospital
The grand lodge has not yet decided to what exact use the property
will be put. Probably it will be in the nature of a hospital whose patients
will be Massachusetts members of the order. The Committee of the grand lodge, headed by Grand Master Frank L. Simpson, of Boston, made formal inspection of the place on Tuesday, and formal acceptance of Mrs. Whittall's generous and unexpected offer has been tendered to her.

Juniper Hall has been one of the show places of Worcester county ever since it was built by Mr. and Mrs.Whittall, in 1912. The gardens are famous and are familiar to many thousands of people, for the public had always been welcome, especially at periods when floral displays were at the height. Lilac week at Juniper Hall has been one of the season's events for people who are fond of flowers. Mrs. Whittall is herself an amateur gardener of no mean skill, and her ideas have developed the estate into a rare combination of formal gardens and the adaptation of cultivated plans to wild environment. Her meadow where the iris grows wild in the native grasses has attracted many interested visitors, in the blooming season.

The mansion is a very large one. Land continuous to it lends itself to the erection of other buildings as the Grand Lodge finds it desirable to provide more accommodations in carrying out the purpose of the memorial.

Ownership of the property passes to the grand lodge immediately. It is unlikely, however, that actual occupancy will begin before next spring. In the meantime, doubtless more detailed plans will be made as to the scope of the relief activities which will be carried on there. The Meeting House hill estate originally consisted of seven pieces of property, each with a different owner. These were brought together for Mr. Whittall by the office of Charles A. Kabley.

This information from a scrapbook in the Shrewsbury Historical Society's collection
No date on article - believed to be around May of 1927

History of City

Norwich was founded in 1659 by settlers from Saybrook led by Major John Mason and Rev. James Fitch. The land was purchased from the local Mohegan tribe, led by their Sachem, Uncas. The early settlement was around the Norwichtown Green. Supplies were brought from a landing near the base of Yantic Falls. By 1684, settlers authorized a new public landing at the head of the Thames River, site of the present downtown.

Improved landing facilities brought larger vessels and stimulated the growth of trade. Products from the interior farms and forests of eastern Connecticut were exchanged in the West Indies for sugar, molasses, rum, and enslaved Africans. By the mid-1700s, the harbor boasted a prosperous colonial seaport known as Chelsea Landing.


At the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, more restrictive British trade policies and the 1764 Stamp Act resulted in widespread protests in the colonies. One response was to replace imported goods from England with locally made ones. Christopher Leffingwell began the manufacture of paper, pottery, chocolate, and stockings at this time.

When resistance to British rule broke into open revolution, Norwich leaders played significant roles as military and political leaders. Jedidiah Huntington served as an aide-de-camp to George Washington. Samuel Huntington, a cousin, served in the Continental Congress and was President of that body when the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781. An early hero of the Revolution, Benedict Arnold, born in Norwich, has become infamous as a traitor.

A Growing City

The city of Norwich was incorporated in 1784, one of the first five Connecticut cities. The abundant waterpower available on the Yantic and Shetucket rivers provided the motive power for textile factories, which by the mid-1800s dominated the local economy.

Steamboats brought passengers and freights to Norwich wharves. Goods and passengers were transferred to the Norwich & Worcester railroad, constructed from 1835 to 1840. Raw cotton and wool were shipped to textile mills throughout the region, and finished cloth shipped back. Norwich became the commercial, transportation, and manufacturing hub of the region.

Norwich was rocked by the controversy over slavery prior to the Civil War. David Ruggles, a key figure in the Underground Railroad, was raised in Norwich. Sarah Harris and other members of her family sought educational opportunities and civil rights for blacks. Norwich Free Academy, founded in 1854, continues to provide secondary education for Norwich and surrounding towns. NFA had non-discriminatory practices from its beginnings.

By the Civil War, the Republicans dominated city politics and controlled the state government. Governor William A. Buckingham and Mayor James Lloyd Greene supported the war effort. As in the Revolution, Norwich supplied men, firearms, and ships. The city welcomed the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. After Lincoln&rsquos assassination, US Senator Lafayette S. Foster served as acting Vice-President. Frances M. Caulkins completed her revised History of Norwich in 1866.

A Thriving City

Rapid industrial growth transformed Norwich into a modern urban center by the early 20th century. Electric trolleys were introduced in 1892. Mohegan Park, started in 1907 with private donations and purchase, is centered around Spaulding Pond. Another important greenspace, Lowthorpe Meadows, was set aside by private philanthropists in the same year.

Immigrants from French Canada, southern and eastern Europe, the Cape Verde islands, and other areas, as well as internal migrants from the American South, reshaped the city in the late 1800s and the 1900s. Their skills and labor went to support the city&rsquos mills and businesses. Settling in various sections of town, the newcomers introduced new churches, cultural organizations, and self-help associations, greatly enriching the diversity of the city. Recent newcomers to Norwich have included Haitians, Spanish-speakers from Central and South America, and Asians, predominantly Chinese.

Civic groups had an important role in city improvements during the 20th century. A progressive city, Norwich moved to take over public utilities in 1904. City government was reorganized as a council/manager form in 1951. In 2001, a charter revision restored the office of Mayor, but retained the city manager.

Today&rsquos Norwich is a thriving city with a stable population, full range of municipal services, a modern industrial park and minor league ball team, its own publicly-owned electric, gas and water utility, and a positive outlook for residential and business growth.

Worcester and Norwich - History

Detail for a Map exhibiting the route of the Norwich & Worcester rail-road surveyed by James P. Kirkwood, James Laurie (Civil Engineers). ca. 1835 - Connecticut Historical Society and Connecticut History Illustrated

An ad for the Norwich and Worcester Rail-Road for contractors from the September 17, 1836, edition of the Hartford Times

On August 28, 1837, the directors of the Norwich and Worcester Railroad celebrated the completion of the Taft Tunnel in Lisbon. The first railroad tunnel in Connecticut and among the earliest tunnels built in America it remains one of the oldest railroad tunnels still in active use. Dr. Nott, of Franklin, delivered the prayer at the dedication and Asa Child, Esq., general agent of the company, delivered the address to the assembled crowd.

At this time, Railroad transportation was relatively new to Connecticut, which chartered its first railroads in 1832. Built to connect the waters of Long Island Sound with the manufacturing heart of Massachusetts, the Norwich to Worcester line covered the route in the shortest possible distance. In a study conducted by Roger Huntington prior to its construction, Huntington estimated that businesses transported 15,000 tons of goods along this route annually (excluding the towns of Norwich and Worcester). The goods included paper and iron as well as products from the 27 woolen and 75 cotton mills along the route.

James Laurie, co-founder of the American Society of Civil Engineers and chief engineer for the railroad, oversaw the project. Due to the drastic change in elevation near Quinnebaug Falls it became necessary to tunnel through the hill. Builders initially found much of the rock to be unstable and a passage from the summit to the foundation had to be opened for 75 feet before the men could even begin to tunnel through solid rock. The result was a slightly curved, narrow tunnel measuring 300 feet long by 23 feet wide and 18 feet high. The tunnel is currently part of the Providence and Worcester Railroad.

Taftville Tunnel. Photograph by an unknown photographer, ca. 1900 – Connecticut Historical Society


Norwich started as a small Anglo-Saxon settlement north of the River Wensum in Norfolk. In time it grew into a town, perhaps because of its situation on a river. (In those days it was much cheaper and easier to transport goods for sale by water than by land). It became known as North Wic (wic is an old word for port and Norwich was an inland port). The name Norwich first appears on a coin minted in the early 10th century.

By then Norwich was a large and important town (although it would appear no more than a village to us). It had a mint and would have had a weekly market. Norwich was probably also a burgh or fortified settlement. The town would have been surrounded by a ditch and earth embankment with a wooden palisade on top.

In the 10th century, Norwich grew rapidly. As the town grew the settlement spread to the south bank of the river. Gradually the settlement at Norwich shifted from north to south of the River Wensum.

Then in 1004 the Danes sacked and burned Norwich. (That was easy since the buildings were of wood with thatched roofs). However, Norwich was soon rebuilt and flourished once again. The Danes left many place names in this part of England. The street name ‘gate’, as in Pottergate, is derived from the Danish word gata meaning street. Potter gata was the street where potters lived and worked. The meaning of Fishergate is obvious. The street name Tombland is derived from a Danish word meaning empty space. Fingelgate comes from a Danish word meaning bend or elbow.


By the time of the Domesday Book, in 1086, Norwich was one of the largest towns in England with a population of about 6,000. Although that seems tiny to us settlements were very small in those days, a typical village only had 100 to 150 inhabitants. By the 14th century, the population of Norwich had probably grown to about 10,000.

In Norwich, as in most Medieval towns, the main industry was the manufacture of wool. First, it was woven then it was fulled. That means the wool was cleaned and thickened by being pounded in a mixture of water and clay known as fuller’s earth. The wool was pounded by wooden hammers worked by watermills. Afterward, it was dyed.

Another important industry in Medieval Norwich was leatherworking. In Norwich, there were tanners, saddlers, and shoemakers. there were also many goldsmiths in Norwich. There were also the same craftsmen found in any medieval town such as blacksmiths, carpenters, brewers, bakers, potters, tailors, and thatchers.

In Norwich there were weekly markets. There was also an annual fair. In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year for a period of a few days. People would come from all over eastern England and London to sell at a Norwich fair. The main export from Norwich was wool. Imports included woad for dyeing, timber, and pitch, wine, millstones, and fish from Great Yarmouth.

In 1094 the local bishop moved his seat from Thetford to Norwich. In 1096 he began building a new cathedral. Stone was brought from Caen in France and a little canal was dug to transport it from the river to the site of the new cathedral. However, the cathedral was not consecrated until 1268. The Normans also built a wooden castle in Norwich. In the early 12th century it was rebuilt in stone.

In 1194 Norwich was given a charter (a document granting the townspeople certain rights). From then on they elected a Reeve, an official who governed the town day to day. In 1265 there was a civil war between the king and some barons. In 1266 some rebel barons sacked Norwich but the town soon recovered.

In the early 13th century the friars arrived in England. Friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world, they went out to preach and help the poor. There were 4 groups of friars in Norwich. There were Dominican friars (called blackfriars because of their black costumes). There were also Franciscan or grey friars and Carmelite or white friars. There were also Augustinian friars. There are still streets in Norwich called Blackfriars, Greyfriars, and Whitefriars. Different orders of friars once lived there.

In the Middle Ages, the church ran the only hospitals. The Hospital of St Paul was founded in the early 12th century. Great Hospital was founded in 1249. There were also 6 leper hostels around the town. (This dreadful disease declined in the 15th century and had disappeared by the 16th). In 1272 the monks of the Cathedral Priory provoked a riot when they attempted to charge tolls on the annual fair at Tombland. The rioters burned part of the Priory.

Cow Tower was built in 1278 for collecting tolls. It was rebuilt in 1399. Stone walls were built around Norwich from 1297 to 1334. The Bridewell was built around 1370. From 1583 to 1828 it was used as a prison.

During the Peasants Revolt in 1381, the rebels captured Norwich. They did not hold Norwich for long, however. The bishop mustered an army and the rebels retreated to North Walsham where they were easily defeated. Norwich school was founded in 1316. Also in 1316 Ethelbert Gate, Cathedral Close was built.

In 1404 Norwich was given a new charter and it gained a mayor. The Guildhall was built in 1407. Then in 1420, Sir Thomas Erpingham built Erpingham Gate in Cathedral Close. St Peter Mancroft was built in 1455 and in 1463 a spire was added to Norwich Cathedral. Strangers Hall was built in the mid-15th century. Meanwhile, Julian of Norwich lived in Norwich in the 14th and early 15th century.


In 1500 the population of Norwich was around 10,000 and it was one of the largest towns in England. In 1505 Norwich suffered a severe fire. Two more followed in 1507. (Fire was a constant hazard because most of the buildings were of wood with thatched roofs). The Guildhall was built in 1513. The friaries were closed by Henry VIII in 1539 but some of the hospitals were taken over by the corporation.

In 1549 came Ketts rebellion. Enraged by their treatment by landowners some of the farmers of Norfolk rose in rebellion. They took control of Norwich and camped on Mousehold Heath. The first attempt to crush the rebellion failed.

A small force led by the Marquis of Northampton entered Norwich and fought in the streets but was then forced to withdraw. The government then sent a much larger force under the Earl of Warwick. This time the rebels were driven out of Norwich. They withdrew to Mousehold Heath then to Dussindale. The earl’s men attacked and routed them. Afterward, about 300 rebels were hanged including Kett.

Then in 1579, there was an outbreak of plague, which may have killed 1/3 of the population of the town. However, Norwich soon recovered. In Tudor England, there were always plenty of poor people in the countryside willing to come to the town to look for work.

After 1565 many weavers came to Norwich fleeing religious persecution in what is now Holland and Belgium. They brought their canaries with them. Soon the native people of Norwich adopted rearing canaries as a hobby. By the 18th century Norwich was famous for its canaries and today Norwich football team is nicknamed the Canaries. The weavers may have boosted the population of the town to about 16,000 by the 1580s. In the early 16th century, Norwich seems to have suffered an economic decline but it began to prosper again in the late 16th century.


The population of Norwich rose rapidly in the 17th century and reached about 25,000 in 1700. This was despite outbreaks of plague. It struck twice, in 1625 and again in 1665 but each time the town recovered. Meanwhile, a children’s ‘hospital’ (really an orphanage) was founded in 1621.

During the civil war 1642-46 most of the people of Norwich supported parliament. There was no actual fighting at Norwich during the civil war. However, there was a riot in 1648. The mayor was a royalist and parliament ordered his dismissal. But the mayor was popular and his supporters rioted. They attacked the homes of well-known puritans and then entered the Committee House where gunpowder was stored. Somehow the gunpowder exploded killing some 40 people. Afterward, 8 of the rioters were hanged.

A ‘hospital’ or almshouse for old people was built in Norwich in 1688.


In the 18th century wool manufacture was still the main industry in Norwich. Wool was exported to North America. There were many imports into Norwich including tea, silk, and porcelain from the Far East. Tobacco from North America. Sugar, rum, and mahogany from the West Indies. Fish was brought by ship from Great Yarmouth and coal from Newcastle. Leatherworking was still an important industry in Georgian Norwich. Brewing flourished in this century. In the late 18th century some silk was woven in Norwich.

Meanwhile Bethel Hospital for the mentally ill was built in 1714.

For the well-off life grew more comfortable during the 18th century. The first newspaper in Norwich began publication in 1721. An Assembly House was built in Theatre Street in 1754 where people could play cards and attend balls. The first bank was founded in 1756.

In the years 1791-1801 the gates in Norwich town walls were demolished to ease the flow of traffic. Meanwhile, in 1780 Elizabeth Fry, the prison reformer, was born in Gurney Court in Magdalene Street and in 1797 Nelson gave the city of Norwich the sword owned by a Spanish admiral, which was captured after the battle of Cape St Vincent.


In 1801 Norwich had a population of 36,000. It was still one of the largest towns in Britain but it soon fell behind as towns in the North and the Midlands mushroomed. Nevertheless, Norwich did grow during the 19th century and by 1900 it had a population of over 100,000. In the early and mid 19th century skilled workers built houses at Heigham and around Vauxhall Street. The middle classes built houses along Thorpe Road.

However, like all 19th-century towns, Norwich was dirty, overcrowded, and unsanitary. There were epidemics of smallpox, typhoid, cholera, and diphtheria during the century. In 1819 there were 530 deaths from smallpox.

Nevertheless, there were many improvements to Norwich in the 19th century. In 1804 a dispensary was opened where the poor could obtain free medicines. In 1806 an act of parliament formed a body of men called the Improvement Commissioners who had powers to pave, clean, and light the streets. The first police force in Norwich was formed in 1836.

As early as the 18th century there was a piped water supply in Norwich – for those who could afford it but the water was impure. In the 1850s the council built a pure water supply. In the 1870s they built a network of sewers. After 1877 they began slum clearance.

Life in 19th century Norwich gradually improved. The first public library opened in 1857. Chapelfields was opened as a public park in 1852. The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich was built in 1884. Mousehold Heath opened as a park in 1886. The Castle Museum opened in 1894. The Royal Arcade was built in 1899. Meanwhile in 1844 Norwich was connected to Yarmouth by train. From 1849 it was connected to London.

During the 19th century wool weaving and silk weaving in Norwich rapidly declined. However, leatherworking boomed. So did brewing. Norwich became famous for boot and shoemaking. In the late 19th century an engineering industry grew up in Norwich and flourished. There was also a mustard-making industry.


From 1900 to 1935 electric trams ran in Norwich but they were replaced by buses. The first cinema in Norwich opened in 1912. James Stuart Garden opened in 1922. Bridewell Museum opened in 1925. A war memorial was erected in 1927. Woodrow Pilling Park opened in 1929. Waterloo Park opened in 1933. The City Hall was built in 1938.

The council built houses on the outskirts of Norwich in the 1920s and 1930s. Many more were built after 1945. They were needed partly because 3,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed by the German bombing.

A new central library was built in 1962 but it burned down in 1994. Norwich University was founded in 1963. The Arts Centre opened in 1977. Anglia Square Shopping Centre opened in 1980. Castle Mall opened in 1993. Riverside Leisure Complex opened in 1999. In the late 20th century the main industries in Norwich were printing, electronics, engineering, and finance. Tourism also became an important industry.

Norwich Cathedral


In the 21st century, Norwich is still a thriving city. In 2002 a building called The Forum was opened. It includes the Millennium Library. Then in 2005 Chapelfield Shopping Centre opened. In 2020 the population of Norwich was 148,000.


In the first decade of the 20 th century, the population of Salem, Mass., was more than one-fifth Quebecois and their children. In South Salem’s Little Canada, children attended French schools like Sainte-Chrétienne. They built French churches like Église Sainte-Anne and they started French businesses like St. Pierre’s Garage, Ouellette Construction and Soucy Insurance.

St. Ann’s Church complex, Woonsocket.

Franco-Americans were almost all Roman Catholic, and strict ones at that. They believed that abandoning the French language meant abandoning their religion, and they clung to their language and customs longer than many other immigrant communities. They called it la survivance. Battles often erupted between French parishes and the Irish-dominated parishes over their desire to hire French-speaking priests.

History of Norwich

Norwich is an ancient city that lies at the heart of rural East Anglia. It was the Anglo Saxons who first made their homes beside the river Wensum, and it was from one of these settlements, which bore the name Northwic, that the city got its name. The settlement grew and grew and merged with others to become the largest walled town in medieval England. In 1066, at the time of the Norman Conquest, Norwich was one of the most important boroughs in the kingdom. Trade by river and sea was increasing and light industry had begun to develop. The market on Tombland was thriving with local produce, pottery, ironwork, wooden and leather goods, as well as furs from Scandinavia and Russia, woollen cloth from Flanders and herring from the North Sea.

Norwich Castle was built by the Norman Conquerors as a show of strength. A steep-sided artificial hill was constructed in 1067 which was 40 feet (13 metres) above ground level. Originally the castle was made of wood and was replaced 60 years later by a stone keep, which can still be seen today.

The keep was roughly 70 feet (20 metres) high, with walls about 100 feet (30 metres) long, and was virtually square in shape. It was built of local flint and mortar, and faced with stone.

In 1096 work started on the Cathedral. Churches and Saxon houses were cleared so that a canal could be dug from the River Wensum to the site of the Cathedral. This meant that stone from Caen in Normandy could be brought directly to the building site by water, thus making lighter work. By 1119 the transepts, presbytery and four bays of the nave had been built, but the Cathedral was not finally consecrated until 1278.

By Medieval times Norwich had within its walls 56 churches. Many of these were built as a reflection of wealth of local landowners. In 1194 Norwich became a city when Richard I granted a charter giving rights of self government. 1349 was when The Black Death hit Norwich and it is thought that as many as two-fifths of the population of roughly 6,000 people may have died. With a high proportion of clergy dying, four parish churches fell into disuse because of the lack of priests and parishioners. However, by 1377, Norwich’s population had risen back to 6,000. Many of the new residents were peasants who had left their unproductive homeland to seek work in the city’s growing textile trade. At the beginning of the 14th century, weaving was the most important trade in the city and, within a hundred years, Norwich was considered the main centre of worsted manufacture in the country. This industry continued for the next five hundred years until machinery was introduced during the Industrial Revolution thus making skilled craftsmen redundant.

The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 meant life at the end of the 14th century was far from peaceful. Armies of rebels set fire to the houses of lawyers and other wealthy folk and it was the bishop, who, with his own army, eventually managed to restore order to the city.

During the early 16th century there were several fires which swept through Norwich, destroying whole streets of thatched and Tudor timbered houses. It is thought that 718 houses were burnt to the ground over a four day period in March 1507, and in June of the same year an additional 360 homes were lost. This was almost half of the city’s housing, which led to a decision that all new buildings should have tiled roofs.

In 1549 an army of 20,000 rebels, led by Wymondham farmer Robert Kett, took over control of the city causing a lot of destruction, they were protesting about an increase in rent and the enclosure of local common land for grazing by rich sheep farmers. They made their camp on Mousehold Heath and it took two royal armies six weeks to defeat them. Kett and forty eight other rebels were hanged at Norwich Castle.

In 1565 there was great concern about the decline in the worsted industry. The city authorities arranged for thirty households of religious refugees to come over from the Netherlands to teach the local craftsmen how to produce different types of cloth. Not only did the ‘Strangers’ (as they were known) bring over their knowledge of weaving, they also brought with them a love of gardens and canary breeding.

By the end of the 16th century the weaving trade was busy and cloth merchants and grocers were making their fortunes. The local gentry could now buy medicines, imported food and fine clothes without travelling to London. Norwich seemed to be prospering again however, according to the mayor, in 1570 about a fifth of the population were living on charity and the city was rife with tramps.

Norwich experienced its last epidemic of Bubonic Plague during 1665-6 this resulted in most of the wealthy citizens leaving Norwich. Unemployment became a serious problem, followed by a severe food shortage in 1666, which was only averted by huge catches of herring which were brought ashore at Great Yarmouth. Agricultural wages in East Anglia were very poor and country life became increasingly difficult this prompted people to move from the country into the city in search of work. The textile industry was recovering from a slump as new interest in fashion meant there were employment opportunities for many. Norwich was now exporting its cloth to Europe, North America, India and China.

By the early 1670’s Norwich had a population of around 21,000 and was probably the largest provincial town in England. Improvements to the main roads and the development of horse-drawn coaches meant that travelling between towns became easier in the 17th and 18th centuries. The gentry of Norfolk and Suffolk would come into Norwich to make purchases and to take part in social events such as card playing and dancing. During the 18th century Norwich’s leather industry steadily grew, making such items as buckets, harnesses, hosepipes, boots and shoes. Brewing also became increasingly important and Norfolk malting barley was considered the best in the country. By 1801 the city had six large breweries, supplying local needs, as well as sending beer to London for sale.

Improvements in local agriculture meant an increased production and a new cattle market grew up around the Castle. Norwich’s first bank was opened in 1756 and it was in 1775 that a local family, John and Henry Gurney, started a bank which still survives today as part of Barclays. It was in 1792 that Thomas Bignold, a wine merchant and banker, started the insurance business which was to become Norwich Union. The prosperity of the 18th century meant there was money to invest in building work. Subsequently the Assembly House was built in 1754, and the old Norfolk and Norwich hospital was constructed in 1771-2.

During the 19th century the population of Norwich increased from 37,256 in 1811 to 80,368 in 1871. The city began to expand beyond its walls and the living conditions were somewhat unhealthy with no supply of clean water there were epidemics of cholera and various other deadly diseases. This improved when a new waterworks was built which provided filtered water, and generally people’s awareness of public health increased.

Norwich originally had three railway stations, but only Thorpe Station, which was opened in 1844, remains today. The meadow land around Thorpe Station soon became crowded with houses and hotels for the railway workers, and factories were built beside the river to take advantage of water and rail transportation. Professional people began building their homes outside the city walls, as the city centre was becoming overcrowded. The area between Ber Street and King Street was particularly over-populated with slum housing. In 1892 work began on the church of St John the Baptist, which was later to become the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

It was in the 19th century that Jeremiah Colman built a new mustard mill at Carrow, A.J Caley began making chocolates at Chapelfield and John Jarrold opened his printing works at Whitefriars.

During the 20th century the city’s population increased from 121,490 in 1911 to an estimated 180,000 in 1980. Re-housing schemes and slum clearance began in the late 19th century and continued for many years, with council houses providing improved living conditions for thousands of people. In 1900 an extensive tram system meant that people could travel cheaply throughout the city, and it ran for thirty years. By the 1920’s the Guildhall, which had been the civic headquarters for over five hundred years, was now too small. The decision was made to build a new city hall, which was opened by George VI in October 1938.

Norwich was bombed more than forty times during the Second World War, and was selected for two of the Baedeker raids in which historic buildings were targeted in excess of 30,000 houses were damaged, 100 factories, as well as seven medieval churches and numerous shops, were destroyed. Rebuilding started in the 1950’s and the central library was built in 1963, with the University of East Anglia (UEA) taking its first students in that same year.

In the early 1990’s the site of the old cattle market was excavated to house the Castle Mall shopping centre, an innovative scheme, built on several levels, using the medieval street patterns and linking the east and west sides of the city centre.

History of Railroad Line Serving Webster, Massachusetts

Oct 02, 2018 #1 2018-10-02T13:18

I am trying to gather some historical information on a passenger railway that operated in the late 1960s. It ran periodically from New London, CT to Webster, Massachusetts, including several other stops along the route and terminated, I believe, in Worcester, Massachusetts. I am specifically interested learning:

- Years during which it operated
- Passenger stations along the line
- Reasons why the service terminated

Finding photos of the trains that ran on that line, or any pictures of the Webster, MA station during that era would be fantastic.

Thanks in advance to anyone who might be able to help!

Oct 03, 2018 #2 2018-10-04T00:25

I don't know if this issue answers all your questions, but it appears Shoreliner Volume 21 Issue 2 included an extensive article on Webster, plus companion articles:

  • "Webster, on the Norwich & Worcester Branch" -- The history of the rail lines serving Webster, MA. 24 pages with photos (some color including the front cover and centerspread) and maps.
  • "The Southern New England -- 'The Old Grand Trunk'" -- The story of the Grand Trunk Railway's planned line between it's subsidiary Central Vermont line in Palmer, MA, and waterfront facilities in Providence, RI. Includes construction photos in Webster and Southbridge. 6 pages with photos and maps.
  • "Trolley Stop: The Street Railways of Webster" -- The history of trolley service in and about Webster, MA. 4 pages with photos and map.

Oct 03, 2018 #3 2018-10-04T02:13

Thanks Bill!
Sounds like that's exactly what I need. I'll order it right away!

Oct 04, 2018 #4 2018-10-04T09:50

Oct 04, 2018 #5 2018-10-04T13:20

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Oct 04, 2018 #6 2018-10-04T13:52

Go to the NHRHTA home page http://www.nhrhta.org/ on the right is a column of links , scroll down and click on MAP OF THE NEW HAVEN RR/NHRHTA PUBLICATIONS BY LINE then on the new page click on the Map Link A larger map of the New Haven Railroad, from a 1929 train schedule, can also be viewed. This will bring up a map that allows you click a location that will list all NHRHTA publications and Shoreliners that have material on that location,in your case click on Webster..There is a long list of links you can look through on the page that the map link is on. There is also a link to the page that list all currently available back issues it is the publications sale page.
The Budd car service started around 1952 for a year or 2 the service was 3 round trips Worcester New London . The service was cut back to 2 round trips for the remainder of the time until Amtrak which did not chose to keep this service running.
I watched and heard these trains many time in the 1950s and 1960s as it operated through Oxford Mass many times as a young railfan. I also remember my parents taking the Budd Car to New York and back to Webster about 1960.
Ron High

If you find an issue you want is not available post a request on the forum you may find someone that can help you.

Stagecoach Inn

The Stagecoach Inn, a fitting name for one of Vermont’s old stagecoach stops.

At the start of the 19th century, ancient footpaths connected Burlington and Montpelier in Vermont. In 1805, the 36-mile Winooski Turnpike along the Winooski River was chartered to connect the two major towns.

The old Winooski Turnpike turned into U.S. Route 2, the main highway connecting the White Mountains to the Adirondacks. It cuts through Waterbury, the town where Ben and Jerry’s make their ice cream.

In 1826 either a Mr. Parmalee or a lawyer named Dan Carpenter had a structure built on the corner of the Winooski Turnpike and what is now Route 100. The building served as a tavern and inn for travelers and as a meeting place for locals.

By the mid-1800s, a farming family named the Henrys owned the inn. Their eccentric daughter Nettie married an Ohio rubber baron, Albert Spencer. Nettie smoked cigarettes, chewed tobacco and wore a celluloid eyeshade. She expanded and improved the old family house in Queen Anne Style.

Nettie Spencer died in 1947. The home was later run as a rooming house and fell into disrepair. A young couple from Boston bought the property in 1985 and rebuilt the house. Today it’s the Old Stagecoach Inn, a historic bed-and-breakfast in the center of downtown Waterbury.

For more information about the Stagecoach Inn click here.

This story about New England stagecoach stops was updated in 2020. If you enjoyed this story, you may also want to read about six Revolutionary taverns here.

Watch the video: Fifty People One Question. Worcester UK